I have five kids. Ages 7, 5, 4, 2 and 1. That means I have had 18 kid birthdays. Not every kid has had a solo party but I figure we've still had about 12-15 birthday parties at my home. We've done rainbows, Minnie Mouse, Moana, Zelda, Pokemon, Carmen Sandiego, ice cream and, most recently, rainbow Star Wars.
I, personally, enjoy planning parties from creating the invitations to picking a theme. One of my best friends and I usually meet a week or so before the party and figure out decorations, food and, if necessary, activities. And in all of our party planning we have learned many things, the biggest one being: don't lose yourself in the planning & executing.
If you like decorating your house and making food/snacks for 30 people, do that. If the idea of cleaning your home for party guests makes you want to punch a wall and you have the option to host the party somewhere else, do that. If you want to go to Chuck E Cheese because they provide the food and entertainment, do that.
Creating an environment where you are most comfortable, in my experience, will help you focus on your kid and ensuring they have a great time. Knowing that the cake is taken care of when you didn't have time to organize the pickup of one at the store or feeling financially secure because you were able to save money by having the party at home will allow you to provide the attention your kid craves at their party.
Here are other tips that have helped us plan:
Goals for lunchtime:
Prep the kids for nap
Make sure they eat a well balanced meal to keep them full for the duration of said nap.
Here are some of our go-to lunches that will get the job done:
Mozzarella/Pizza Blend cheese
Toppings - sausage, pepperoni, ham, green peppers, olives
When we have these, I let the kids do all of the assembling. My 1 & 2 year olds need a bit of help but starting at 3 they have a pretty good grasp of how to make them. Follow the heating directions on the naan package and serve with a side of fresh veggies.
Colby Jack/Mexican Blend Cheese
Rice (1 ready rice packet is good for 6-8 quesadillas)
Add-ins - Chicken, veggies
Assemble tortilla (I give each kid one folded tortilla), microwave for 20-30 seconds (tip from NaptimeKitchen so the cheese doesn't make a giant mess), heat butter in frying pan and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side. Serve with fresh veggies, salsa and/or additional rice.
No real ingredients here but most grocery stores carry ravioli in the fridge or freezer sections with multiple fill ins. Cheese, meat, eggplant, asparagus, tons of options which is especially great for picky eaters since it's all packed in pasta!
Serve with or without sauce and a side of fruit.
Muffin Tray Lunch
This is another one that doesn't exactly have a recipe and can also be used as an after school snack tray (I've shared some of our recent ones on Instagram!)
Some things we like to put in our lunch time muffin tray are:
Honestly, there are an infinite number of possibilities and this is the perfect lunch or after school snack to get rid of things in your fridge that you just need to use up! When I do use this as a snack tray I try to fill the majority of the spots with fruits and veggies and then leave the tray on the table until dinner. My kids know the tray is their only snack option until dinner.
Do you have any go-to lunches for your kids? Share below or on my Facebook or Instgram post!
Two months ago I wrote about the 30 second hug and how it has really helped my stress and anxiety. Recently I've realized that my kids can have very similar feelings even if our behavior looks a little different. So I took my original post and made some edits imagining this same idea from the mind of my 3 year old:
I can get overwhelmed very easily. All of my siblings running around me, having to wake up when my brother wakes up since we share a room, not being able to go outside everyday since my mom says it's too cold outside. It can be a lot and when my mom tries to help me relax it can be hard to ease my frustration.
So a couple of weeks ago we started 30 second hugs. I don't always think to ask for a hug and sometimes it is the last thing I want to do. But when I am ready to feel better and get some one on one time with my mom, I walk over to her and ask for a hug. Once I'm there mom begins counting to 30 in her head. And as she counts, I lean in a little more and I can feel some of the stress release. It doesn't take all the stress away, but even 50% of the stress leaving my body is incredibly helpful and allows me to get through whatever I'm struggling with a lot easier. And, not only will I feel better, my mom usually feels better, too :)
The thing I've learned since starting this is that I absolutely have 30 seconds to give myself a break and my mom an extra expression of love. So when you are having a rough day because your little sister is trying to take a toy from you or you get a paper cut after coloring, just take 30 seconds. That's sometimes all it takes.
Anyone that knows me pretty well knows that I don't really plan on my current house being our forever home. Ideally, it wouldn't even be our home in our 3 year plan. We have good sized bedrooms and LOVE our kids' elementary school, yet when we have people over, our tight living room seems to get smaller and smaller. For those who have seen How I Met Your Mother, we are basically living in the episode where Robin tries to convince Lilly and Marshall to stay in the city but every time they go back to their apartment it gets smaller and smaller and no lamp is left unbroken.
I'll be honest. I still want a different house - one with a fenced in yard, a dining room and a master bathroom - and I hope one day I can. However, one thing I've learned is kids just wanna be where you are. Do they care if the living room is 200 square feet or 1400 square feet? Nope. They will still sit as close as possible to you when you sit down on the couch. Do they care if you need to put up an extra table when you have guests over because there isn't enough room in your eat-in kitchen? HECK NO. They will love the chance to eat somewhere other than the kitchen table.
Over the past week we have been in close quarters with a large number of family multiple times. And while some people sat in unconventional seating and others chose to stand, having everyone together was so special that not a single kid complained about it being too cramped.
Two days ago I was straightening my hair and this word hit me in the face. I was thinking about how I didn't need my hair to be perfect but I wanted it straight to at least feel a little more put together. And it was this sudden moment of clarity that I decided my word for 2020 is: imperfect.
I couldn't decide if this year my word should be imperfect or imperfection but either way, the idea is the same.
I am imperfect.
So often I think I need to be perfect. Have perfect hair. Be the perfect mom. Make only perfect tasting dinners. Be the perfect weight. Be the perfect wife. Have perfect parties. Appear perfect. But again I say, I am imperfect.
Google defines imperfect as:
"Incomplete". The lives we are living right now are incomplete so they don't need to be perfect since that implies completion!
So in 2020, I am going to try my hardest to let my hair fall as it may and not worry about the flyaway baby hairs. To try a new dinner and NOT GET DOWN ON MYSELF WHEN IT ISN'T 100% RIGHT. Focus on health goals instead of weight goals. And let more people know that I am not perfect by making that part of me more visible. And know that the way to being the perfect mom is to love my children (and make sure they know that) and support them. My children and my husband love me for the real me. The mom and wife who is present. One who takes an interest in their interests. And one who sets a good example of how to be completely one's self. Which also means showing them that I am imperfect and that's okay as long as I stay try to myself.
Hi, I'm Rebecca
I’m a wife, mom to 5 kids, former choir teacher, Christian and advice giver? I can honestly say I never expected to be the one giving advice when I so frequently ask for it, but the advice I’ve received is so valuable and must be shared! Here are some of the things I’ve learned so far!